Stress And Diet!


Think of all the things you do in a day.  Perhaps feeling tired, irritable, or nauseous can be stress related.  Too much stress without some relief can cause some serious health issues for you now and later in life.  Heart disease and high blood pressure can be a result of being stressed-out.  In you already have been diagnosed with diabetes, stress can worsen it.  Those headaches that you may often get, can be related to stressful situations. How about that depression and/or anxiety you sometimes or often times feel?  Don’t be surprised that chronic stress is also related to more frequent episodes of depression and anxiety.  

I mentioned nausea earlier.  Stress can make ulcers worse, cause heartburn, and even irritable bowel syndrome.  Other culprits of too much stress in your life worsen asthma and Alzheimer’s, interrupt sleep, accelerate aging and even cause premature death.  

So, now that you have realized that you have some of these symptoms, what do you do about it?  Here are some ways you can fight back.  Try breathing deeply, as just a few minutes can calm you.  You don’t need any special equipment or location for this.  You can do this while at work, while driving, cooking, or anytime you start to feel stress taking over.  

Focus on the present.  Don’t get too anxious about what you are going to next or feel guilty about something you may have forgotten to do.  Take some “me” time and perhaps a walk, a stretch, or healthy snack break will bring your focus away from stressful things occurring.

I have found that when I am in traffic, I try use the time as an opportunity to catch up on the news, listen to some soothing music, or listen to an audio book.  It takes my mind off of the traffic and really does lessen the stress.  

Once you begin making some of these changes in your life, look ahead to some bigger changes that can become a new way of life for you.  Start a regular exercise routine, as studies show that this can elevate your moods and give you more energy.  Learn some techniques such as yoga or meditation which will relax you. Not only will you will your mood improve, but the long-term health benefits can be quite significant.



Stay Active Indoors

When the weather gets bad, it is hard to stay active inside the house. However, that does not mean that doing physical activity inside is impossible! There are multiple games and ways to get exercise indoors involving the whole family. One effective way of exercising is yoga. Family yoga involves everyone practicing yoga poses together and can be a really fun activity. Yoga can also bring peace to a family home while toning muscles, increasing flexibility, and reducing weight.

Another way of getting active indoors is playing games. Animal charades is a game where parents write down different types of animals on pieces of paper that can be drawn from a cup. Parents and children can take turns acting out which animal they pick by moving and making sounds. This game encourages creativity in children and adults and can make physical activity seem effortless.

A classic fun game to play is freeze frame. This can be with or even without music playing. If someone is caught still moving after the word “Freeze!” is said, they have to keep dancing until all the other players are out. This game is so easy because it doesn’t involve any equipment except a voice. It is simple and works, especially with children.

A cool game that is fun for children to play is called “Stretch and sprout”. This game involves children imagining themselves as a seed by being curled up in a tight ball and then stretching out as far as they can imagine. By creating a visualization of the child transforming from a seed to a flower, this encourages imagination while stretching all of the muscles in the body. Another way to get more out of this game is by encouraging the child to spring up and jump at the end when they are all stretched out.

Another creative game is called “ABC” where parents and children give each other words to spell and spell them with their arms and legs. This game also can help children learning how to spell. By spelling out words with arms and legs, both parents and children exercise their limbs while toning their cores.

Whether it’s a simple hands-free game or a yoga session, these methods are effective in getting the whole family active while being indoors. These exercise ideas may even make the children excited about the next rainy day when they can stay indoors to play these games!




Get Active and Stay Active during the Holidays!

santa on a scaleDuring the holidays it can be difficult to maintain your usual workout schedule. In an effort to reach your physical activity needs try to switch it up!

If you are crunched for time try fitting in time at work during your lunch break! You could go for a brisk walk or even do chair exercises at your desk. You can also save time by incorporating your family into your workouts. Backpacking or skiing together can provide exercise while also allowing quality family time. Also try ice skating or even building a snow man to work your muscles!

If you are not able to make it to the gym try putting together some at home workouts. Body weight exercises that don’t require equipment are great for home workouts. Try crunches, pushups, lunges, or jumping jacks. You can do cardio by running up steps or jogging around your house.

Add some variety in your workouts to stay motivated. If you usually run, try biking or weight lifting. For more motivation try creating a vision board and setting realistic goals.

Although the holidays make it difficult, make exercising and reaching your physical fitness goals a top priority. Shoot for at least three thirty minute workout sessions per week.

The last and most important tip is not to overdo it. Find balance and manage your time wisely so that you can enjoy the holidays with family and friends while also getting physical activity.



Stay Active to Avoid Stress

Staying activeFeb 6 post is sometimes hard to do especially if you work and have children. Our friends at the American Diabetes Association share some ideas about how physical activity is a natural stress reliever. It also helps control blood glucose levels, lower blood pressure, and provides many other health benefits. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the holidays disrupt your exercise routine. Include time for physical activity on your calendar when you are planning ahead. We recommend doing at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity 5 days per week.

Finding it hard to get motivated this winter? Having a goal to work toward and exercising with others can help. Try creating an exercise challenge with your family or set an activity goal for yourself. If you’re at a loss for what to do during the colder months, check out our list of winter activity options below:

  • If you’ve got snow, make a snow fort or take the family sledding. Walking up and down a hill is a great work out, and it’s a good way to get the kids active too!
  • Go ice skating with a friend to catch up and get some fresh air.
  • Sign up for indoor fitness classes. There are a lot of class options out there now. Try zumba, kickboxing, jazzercise, yoga, and more.
  • See if any local restaurants host a salsa dancing night. Learn to salsa and get your muscles moving!
  • Buy an exercise video or look for a free workout video online that you can do in the comfort of your own home.
  • Hosting a holiday party? Giving the house a deep clean also counts as activity!
  • Bundle up and go for a brisk walk or jog around the neighborhood.
  • If you’ve got a gym membership, take advantage of the indoor equipment this winter!
  • Sign up and train for a race or walk with a family member or friend. Having a race to train for in early spring can help keep you motivated.



Keep them playing, keep them safe



I distinctly remember falling off a scooter as a child and scraping my knees on the hot concrete. They took a couple of weeks to heal, but the injury could have been prevented if I had been wearing knee pads. While it may seem like wearing extra equipment or following certain rules takes too much time, it’s critical to preventing both minor and major accidents–trust me, I’ve been there!

Here are some tips you can follow to keep your kids safe while they play:

  • General Tip: Never leave them alone outside. Staying with your kids while they play is a great way to spend time together while keeping an eye on their environment to keep them safe!
  • Setting Up a Safe Environment: Playgrounds and other outdoor play areas may have gas grills, electrical appliances, or other hazardous items. Keep kids away from such equipment, and direct them towards safe activities and toys.
  • Riding Toys: Always require children to wear properly fitted helmets when riding bikes or other riding toys. I’m obviously an advocate for knee pads and elbow pads for extra protection.
  • On the Playground: Playground equipment can get very hot in the summer heat. Test the playground equipment before allowing your children to play on it, and provide a shaded area near the playground to rest and rehydrate.

Don’t forget to talk to your kids about why we follow these rules–they’re not to ruin their fun, but to keep them from hurting themselves (because bruises and scraped knees are NOT fun)!

Want to learn more? Check out this article, and bookmark it to refer back to the hints all year long and promote outdoor safety.

To this day I’m uneasy about riding scooters–following safety tips such as these for your children can prevent accidents like the one I was in and encourage them to try new activities and Move More!


Indoor activities for your family on bad weather days


Just a couple of weeks ago, many folks were watching to see if the groundhog saw his shadow. According to the tradition, if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter, but if he doesn’t, an early spring can be expected. Whether you are a follower of this tradition or not, I believe that we will see more cold days. As such, parents will continue to keep the little ones inside when the forecast calls for rain, snow or downright chilly temperatures.

Don’t let your family’s activities be hampered by the weather. There are many indoor activities that are weatherproof alternatives guaranteed to keep you and your children occupied until the sun starts shining again. Here are a few inexpensive examples of great indoor activities that you and your family can enjoy.

Museums are a great indoor playground for curious young minds with lots of hands on offerings for children. If your family is interested in history, science, the arts or culture, the museum may be for you.

Theaters and tours are other great options. Escape indoors and get lost in your local theater for an hour or two. There are many options around town that cater to the young and the young at heart. The only challenge is to decide what to see! Look for special seasonal promotions such as 2-for-1 ticket deals, free admission for kids of a certain age and same day discount deals. Take a tour of your city’s local attractions. You may see something that you didn’t see before.

Concerts and comedy shows are also good choices. From kid-centric musical performances to a comedic troupe that caters to the younger set, there are family-friendly options in most towns and cities. If you live in an area where your options are limited, have your own concert or comedy show at home. Dance, sing and laugh any inclement weather away.

Libraries and bookstores are wonderful opportunities for indoor activities. Instead of curling up at home with a good book, add a little excitement to your family’s reading repertoire at bookstores and libraries. Find storytelling sessions and other events such as performances, screenings and workshops at these popular book retreats for young visitors.

The bowling alley is another indoor activity that will spare you and your family from the inclement weather blues. Most bowling alleys are open during the day, evenings and on the weekends. On Friday nights, families can pay a discounted rate for bowling, shoes, and a complimentary snack/drink. Younger bowlers also get assistance from ramps and bumpers.

Play spaces make great indoor options where kids can burn off excess energy. At many of these places, there are opportunities to play sports and to explore imaginative environments.

A little inclement weather is no excuse for an empty agenda. Get up and get moving… even if it’s indoors. What other ideas and suggestions do you have for family friendly indoor activities?